According to Ayurveda, dry skin is typically a problem associated with the Vata dosha. This means that when the Vata dosha is dominant or aggravated, we may struggle with dryness, patchiness, itchiness, dullness, and lackluster.
The Vata dosha can become dominant or aggravated if we’re leading a lifestyle that tends to increase Vata: eating dry, cold, and stale foods, skipping meals, not sleeping enough, getting too much stimulation (TV, loud environments, etc), and managing busy, stressful schedules. In addition, as summer changes to fall and the cold, dry, and windy weather begins to set in, Vata becomes the prevailing force outside. If we don’t adjust our lifestyles to pacify Vata, we’ll begin to see changes in our skin consistent with dryness.
Fortunately, we can achieve nourished and hydrated skin by following these Ayurvedic dry skin care tips.
(If you have acne and rashes, be sure to read Achieve Clear, Radiant Skin with These Ayurvedic Tips), or if you have oily skin, read How to Treat Oily Skin with Ayurvedic Medicine).
Nourish Vata from the Inside
Good skin starts on the inside. Nourishing Vata with the right diet and herbal formulations will increase moisture and alleviate dryness.
Drink lots of water
Drink sufficient water, especially as warm Vata teas, like CCF (cumin, coriander, and fennel), chamomile, ginger, and tulsi.
Eat a Vata diet
Eat, warming, nutrient-dense foods (e.g. daal, steamed vegetables, kitchari, etc.) with plenty of health fats (e.g. ghruta, olive oil, avocado, etc.). The amino acids, proteins, vitamins, and minerals that are in these dishes help to nourish the organ systems and assist in your absorption of nutrients and fluids.
Consuming 1 tsp of Chyawanprash every morning will help with nourishing all 7 tissues so that you can build healthy skin, hair and nails.
To read more tips for balancing Vata, read A Comprehensive Guide to the Vata Dosha.
Vata Beauty Care
In addition to nourishing our bodies, we can also use these effective and time-tested Ayurvedic dry skin care treatments:
Because Vata skin is dry, excessive cleansing is not required. Cleanse your skin only once – before bed, and rinse your face in the morning. Also, be sure to opt for lukewarm water (instead of hot) and choose nourishing cleansers. You can make this at home cleanser with the following formula:
- 1 teaspoon almond flour
- 1/2 tsp coconut or almond milk
- 1 drop of chamomile, rose, or lavender essential oil
Combine all the ingredients in the palm of your hand to create a liquidy paste. After, gently massage the skin of the face and neck, being careful around the eyes. Rinse with lukewarm water.
Enjoy a facial steam once or twice a week. Facial steams are an excellent way to help enhance moisture and open and cleanse the pores and sinuses.
If you don’t have an at-home facial steamer, you can easily create one in your own kitchen: Take 2-3 cups of water, and in a standard medium-sized pot, gently heat the water until it is close to boiling, but not boiling. Place yourself in a comfortable sitting position, and place your head over the pot, not too close to the water so as not to scald your skin, and take in deep breaths. You can do this for about 5 minutes. It also helps to have a towel draped over the back of the head to prevent the steam from escaping around the sides of the pot. Feel free to add herbs and essential oils to the steam!
Make a mask with sandalwood powder, aloe vera, fresh yogurt, a few drops of sesame oil, and honey. Mix it all together to create a liquidy paste, and leave on the face (or body) for approximately 10 minutes, before rinsing off with damp warm cotton pads.
Practice abhyanga daily. Take warm sesame oil, warm sunflower oil, warm castor oil, or warm ghee, and gently massage your body and face for 10-15 minutes. When massaging your face, be gentle around the eye orbit and the neck, as the skin is more delicate in these areas. To enhance the massage experience and further balance Vata, add 1-2 drops of essential oils to your massage oil. Rose, lavender, chamomile, and/or sandalwood, will leave the skin smelling beautiful and looking more radiant and hydrated.
Don’t forget that you can also arrange for a treatment with an Ayurvedic practitioner. An Ayurvedic practitioner can provide you with customized massages and facial treatments to address all of your skin concerns.
Use these Ayurvedic dry skin care tips and treatments to find your way back to hydrated, nourished and radiant skin!
Ceanna Saatsaz is a Licensed Master Esthetician, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, and Certified Professional Herbalist from Seattle, WA.